Kawasaki is reportedly developing a new small-displacement Kawasaki Ninja 200 for the Indian market, according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review. The company also plans to make India its export hub for global markets like Africa and Latin America.
Kazuo Ota, Head of Motorcycles and Engines Division - Kawasaki, said that the company is observing the potential demand for motorcycles with engine capacity as low as 200 cc. He further indicated that Kawasaki could also develop new models for the Indian and other emerging markets. The purported Kawasaki Ninja 200 is likely to employ an all-new engine.
According to the report, Kawasaki plans to increase production in India to about 10,000 motorcycles a year from its Chakan plant in Pune, Maharashtra. The company plans sourcing local components for most of its offerings in the domestic market. The report claims that Kawasaki has commissioned several engineers to India from Japan, and tasked them with finding ways to source locally manufactured, low-cost components for models like the Ninja 250.
IKM aims to triple its Kawasaki-only dealership network to 30 showrooms by the end of 2020. Furthermore, the company plans to increase local sales to 5,000 units in India. The sales projection of 5,000 units is similar to what Kawasaki now sells in China, up from 1,400 units in 2016.
Kawasaki started Indian operations in partnership with Bajaj Auto. In the next stage, the company sold its range of motorcycles through Bajaj’s Probiking showrooms. Kawasaki went solo in India after parting ways with its long-term partner last year. The company has set up a new manufacturing facility in Chakan, Pune, measuring 10,000 Sq. Metres, in September 2017. Earlier, the company assembled models with engine capacities between 250-650 cc at Bajaj’s Chakan plant.
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It will be interesting to see how Kawasaki tackles the Indian market with local production of its entry-level bikes. The Kawasaki Ninja 200 (when launched) will rival the KTM RC 200 and the Bajaj Pulsar RS 200 among others. The company, on 20 July, introduced the localized Kawasaki Ninja 300, priced at INR 2.98 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Soon we can expect Kawasaki to offer some amount of localization in motorcycles like the Versys-X 300 and the Kawasaki Ninja 400. The company recently sold out all the units of the locally assembled Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in India.
[Source: Nikkei Asian Review]